61.5% of MEP candidates pledge to prioritise LGBTI rights

Malta ranks second – surpassed only by Finland – on the list of top signatory countries.

Amid fears of a rise in the far-right in this week’s European elections, all candidates fielded by the Labour Party (S&D), the Nationalist Party (EPP), ADPD (Greens/EFA), and Volt Malta as well as two independent candidates (Arnold Cassola and James Ryder Muscat) have endorsed ILGA-Europe’s ‘Come Out 4 Europe’ petition, committing themselves to the protection and advancement of LGBTI human rights. This means that 24 out of a total of 39 candidates in Malta have joined the campaign.

“In an era where authoritarian leaders across Europe are continuously using LGBTI people as targets to divide and mobilise their electorates, the significance of the ‘Come Out 4 Europe’ campaign cannot be overstated,” declared the European region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA). “These candidates aren’t just showing support online; they’re making a bold statement about their values and priorities as voters get ready to go to the polls. Each signature represents a promise to fight against discrimination and advocate for the rights of LGBTI communities.”

Talking to The Journal, Cynthia Chircop, coordinator of the Malta LGBTIQ Rights Movement (MGRM) welcomed the positive response. “We hope that if the six Maltese MEPs to be elected are from among the 24 candidates who have signed the petition, they will be open to dialogue on how human rights and LGBTIQ rights in Europe and Malta can be safeguarded, as well as other areas in which LGBTIQ rights intersect,” she said. “MGRM will be monitoring what happens throughout this five-year term of the European Parliament to ensure that the signatory MEPs uphold their pledge.”

A total of 1,012 European election candidates have signed the petition across the EU, with Malta ranking second – surpassed only by Finland – on the list of top signatory countries.

Come Out 4 Europe Pledge 2024

I, as a candidate for the European Parliament, pledge to be a firm supporter of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people’s human rights and equality in the European Union and beyond.

I will:

• propose and advocate for EU policies and laws that provide explicit protection on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and sex characteristics, and that provide concrete responses to the needs of LGBTI people in all their diversity

• recognise that, in a context where LGBTI rights are used as scapegoats in wider attacks on democracy, I need to also actively engage on rule of law, democracy and inequality as part of my commitment

• make sure the EU uses all its powers to hold Member States accountable for violations of the human rights of LGBTI people, and for ignoring their obligations under EU treaties, legislation and policies, and refusing to implement of existing legal protections

• act as a strong defender of LGBTI organisations and human rights defenders across Europe and beyond by actively challenging any restrictions to civil society space through working to secure sustainable and accessible EU funding for civil society, including LGBTI organisations

• advocate for the EU to be a champion for LGBTI Human Rights in Enlargement, Neighbourhood countries and Third Countries

• advocate for the adoption of an ambitious second EU LGBTIQ Equality Strategy, and actively contribute to its effective implementation by mainstreaming LGBTI rights in EU internal and external policy-making.

In order to work towards these commitments, I will:

• meaningfully engage with, and seek out the input and strategic guidance of LGBTI civil society, who are best placed to know how to meet the needs of their communities

• use credible and responsible sources of information to ensure my work for LGBTI rights contributes to well-informed and constructive political discussions in Brussels and across the EU

• communicate about LGBTI rights and equality in a manner that brings people together and builds alliances and support, avoiding polarisation

• put the safety of the community above any other concerns and always follow the “do no harm” principle, including by keeping my work out of the public eye whenever necessary

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